Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! Books to Haunt You.

In honor of Halloween I thought I would post a list of spooktacular books for you to read!

Adult Recs: 

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Gris Grimly

The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe

The Witching Hour by Anne Rice

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie

Love & the Zombie Apocalypse by Chelsea Bellingeri

The Shining by Stephen King

Psycho by Robert Bloch

Graveyard Scavenger Hunt by Brian Barnett

Here's some for children!

Five Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

Clifford's Halloween by Norman Bridwell

Humbug Witch by Lorna Balian

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

Cinderella Skeleton by Robert D. San Souci

Funnybones by Allan Ahlberg

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex

The Great Pumpkin Strikes Again! by Charles M. Schultz

I hope you have a Spooktacular Halloween! Please be safe and check your children's never know about people.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

October Book Club Pick- great choice!

Summary (back of book)
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

My thoughts 
 In all honesty, I LOVED this book! I was so convinced in the first few chapters that Nick killed his wife. I mean it made sense, it all added up- except the body. But then once you actually start seeing Amy through Nick's eyes, and even reading the Diary Amy entries, you start to think, what? Yes, Nick looses his temper but is he really capable of murder? I don't think so. This book is brilliant, from beginning to end. I mean, Gillian Flynn is a genius. A true genius. The mind it takes to fashion a crime so devious, is remarkable. 
It's hard for me to really decide if Amy is demented sociopath or just pure evil. I think both really. Yes, she's incredibly smart but who the hell does THAT to their husband to teach them a lesson? I mean come on. Just divorce him for heaven's sake. I mean the attention to detail she had planning her own murder/death, wow. I could never do that- which probably why I'm considered normal. I mean it took her a year or so to plan all the details. The fake credit cards, the fake diary..I mean, wow. In a sick way, she is to be admired. She's the kind of psycho that has followers and copycats. Flynn definitely broke the mold creating this character.
Nick is a tired, bored husband who only has one thing going for him- the 20-something hot college student he's banging. He never sees the setup by his wife coming. He does figure it out though. And the good thing is that one of the officers is on his side. I mean you get the feeling he's just not that smart to pull off a murder. He would do something to screw it up. In a big way, like call 911 on himself. In the end though, I just feel incredibly sorry for him. I mean geez, to figure out your wife framed you for her own murder, then she shows back up after killing her supposed 'kidnapper, rapist' well, damn, that sucks so bad. And the thing is, he can't divorce her. She has too much on him. His life is rough and it sucks. I really would love to know what happens though. I would love to know if he does end up killing her, like she should be, that demented witch. 
Amy's parents are a different breed. I hated them. I mean HATED them. They are the reason she is the way she is. 
I loved loved this book. The plot and all the twists and turns will keep you wanting to read and make you not want to sleep. In total, it took me 24 hours to read. I started it one morning and finished it the following afternoon, after begrudingly going to bed because my eyes were going bleary. It's so worth the lack of sleep.

5 out of 5 stars!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Sometimes I go onto the OverDrive app that my local library has and I browse all the books. And on some occasions, I find books that I like because of their cover picture...this is one of those cases.

Summary: (back cover) I don't usually take the back cover summary, but I liked it for this book.

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

My Feelings:
I was a bit hesitant when I first started reading this book. I mean, I've read a lot of teen fiction and a lot of it deals with high schoolers dealing with high school drama. This book is the same but with an added twist. It has a sorta who-dun-it aspect to it which I loved.  
Ezra is a smart, popular high school kid who has everything he could ask for. After finding his girlfriend in a less than attractive position with another guy, Ezra leaves the party of the week only to find himself in the hospital days later. What happened? Ezra was hit by a black SUV going way too fast. His knee is shattered and Dr's tell him he will never play sports again. Ever. So goes the tale of how Ezra went from popular stud to debate club nerd. He reconnects with his once best friend, Toby. Who is probably the best character in the book with his book smarts and quick wit. Cassidy, Ezra's love interest is something else. She's mysterious but I'm not sure it's a good way. It's rather annoying. And then, poof!, she doesn't want anything to do with Ezra. It's crazy. Charlotte, Ezra's ex-girlfriend, is the epitome of high school slut. She will open her legs for any guy. I didn't like her- it was like reading about Mean Girls. 
The whole story revolved around how Ezra is pitiful now because of his injury and because he can't play sports. Almost like, if you can't be a jock you can't be anything. Which may be true in some schools. Ezra joins the Debate club because of class schedule rules and is good, no great, but good. He can hold his own when needed. Cassidy, you find out, was a debate champion, who quit all of a sudden last year for no apparent reason. She starts training Ezra to be her protege so she doesn't have to participate anymore. Ezra and Cassidy become a couple all of sudden, no words discussed, just it happens. You find out that Cassidy had a brother- he's the reason that Ezra is injured. It's very sad really.
This book did remind me of Eleanor & Park because of the relationship between Ezra and Cassidy. I give props to Schneider though for her humor and having smart high schoolers portrayed. It was great. I loved how she had geeks in the forefront as the winners and the ones you wanted to be friends with for a lifetime. 
It's a good read. Great humor and reads fast.

4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cat in the Stacks Mystery Series (books 1-5) by Miranda James

I convinced my husband to take me and our daughter to the book store a week or so ago just so I could peruse the goodies on the shelves. Well, I ended up buying the first 5 books in this mystery series. I am such a sucker for mysteries! Especially when they have all the books in that series ready for you to buy..Bless my husband's heart..he stood no chance.

The books:
1. Murder Past Due
2. Classified as Murder
3. File M for Murder
4. Out of Circulation
5. The Silence of the Library

As you can see the series is set in libraries and revolves around library type stuff. Miranda James is an alias for Dean James. He also writes under a couple other names. I LOVE this series because it's set in Mississippi, which is where I'm from. Honestly, it made me very homesick.

Charlie Harris is a 50ish year old man, widower, with 2 adult children. He also is works at the college library in Athena, MS. He volunteers at the public library once a week also. What makes Charlie interesting and the talk of the town is his companion, Diesel. Diesel is a Maine Coon cat, who is large even for the breed. Charlie and Diesel go everywhere together.
In Murder Past Due, Charlie is working hard when his old high school classmate, Godfrey Priest, arrives. Priest is an unbearable man who is famous for writing thrillers. Events unfold quickly once Priest arrives- he lands a man in the hospital, and then he's found dead- by Charlie. Justin, a boarder in Charlie's house, is the biological son of Priest. They both just found out and were getting acquainted. The story continues with Charlie helping out Deputy Berry solving the murder. Who killed Priest and why? Can Charlie clear Justin's name? Yes he does. Read Murder Past Due to find out who kills Priest! 

In Classified as Murder, Charlie is asked by the town's eccentric resident, James Delacorte, to do inventory for him of his rare books collection. He has feelings that someone is stealing his books, and the thief is related to him. On the first day of inventory, Charlie leaves for lunch only to return to find Mr. Delacorte dead in the library. Charlie once again is thrown into the investigation to help find out who killed Mr. Delacorte and why. Charlie tries not to step on Deputy Berry's toes and tries to stay out of trouble poking his nose around. After receiving threats, Charlie can't stop. He must find out who killed this man. Can Charlie put all the facts together? Read Classified as Murder to find out!

File M for Murder revolves around the arrival of noted playwright, Connor Lawton. He's in town helping Athena College perform a new drama. We also meet Charlie's daughter, Laura, and learn of her previous relationship with Connor. After Connor calls Laura and asks her to come over to his hotel room, Laura finds Connor dead. She immediately calls Charlie and asks him to come help her and what to do. Deputy Berry arrives sometime later full of questions for both Charlie and Laura. Can Charlie make Berry see that Laura would never murder anyone? Charlie has to find who killed Connor before Deputy Berry arrests Laura for a murder she did not commit. Charlie poles his nose around and soon finds out who did it and the twist on why! This was probably the most twisty book in the series. I enjoyed this one because it had drama with it- stalkers, loud clothing, drama actors. Read File M for Murder, you will love it!

Out of Circulation finds Charlie as a member of one of the town boards- along with some very high rolling ladies. The Ducote sisters are one of the wealthiest and charitable ladies in town. Along with Vera Cassity they like to throw big todo's in town to raise money for various organizations. Charlie finds himself disliking Vera and throwing his vote in with the Ducote sisters. But was that the right thing to do? Especially after they tell him, Vera will get what's coming to her soon. At the party of the year, Vera is found dead and Charlie's maid, Deputy Berry's mother, Azalea, is in the midst of it- or so it seems. Can Charlie help Berry clear Azalea's name? and find out who the true murderer is? This book is full of twists and turns! I LOVE this one too!

The Silence of the Library is about National Library Week and the week of events that will be happening in honor of it. Charlie is working on a display about mystery series. One of the series authors, Electra Barnes Cartwright, is rumored to have settled close to Athena. He and Teresa (library director) go and visit Mrs. Cartwright to invite her to talk during the week. She gladly accepts! Teresa is called the next day by Cartwright's daughter to discuss the fee- something the Teresa is shocked about since money wasn't discussed at the meeting. Now Teresa fears that the author won't appear because paying her isn't in the library budget. Soon, collectors start to arrive and try to bully their way into having Mrs. Cartwright sign all their copies of her mystery books. They are willing to pay crazy amounts for her to do this. When the president of the ECB's fan club is found murdered Charlie puts on his detective hat once again to help solve the murder and find out if Mrs. Cartwright is truly alive at 100 yrs old or if something more sinister happened to her.

My feelings
I absolutely loved this series! I read it in 5 days- yes, one book a day. I was uncertain about having a man as the lead character in a mystery series but I really love Charlie and his cat Diesel. I'm so used to having strong female leads in the mysteries I read, that it was refreshing to have Charlie and his sweet cat be the spotlight. I loved this book even more because it's set in my home state of Mississippi. It made me so very homesick that I was calling my mom regularly (which I do anyways but more so). I even researched Miranda James to find out more about her only to find out she's a he! It made more sense that Dean James would have a male lead in a detective series such as this once you discover the name Miranda James is his pseudonym. It works though! I especially love Diesel! I would love love love to see a Maine Coon in person. They sound like such amazing and beautiful animals, smart too.
One of my favorite characters, besides Charlie and Diesel, was Deputy Kanesha Berry. She was the first African American woman Deputy in the small town of Athena and she is FIERCE! Her character is strong, smart, and badass. She's intimidating but she knows good help when she finds it. She doesn't trust many but when she does she relies on them. I thought her character was needed in the story. She was the yang to Charlie's ying since he's so nice and welcoming.

I HIGHLY recommend this series! I cannot wait to read the next books in the series.

5 out of 5 stars for all 5 books!!